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LASG, Magodo residents disagree over master plan review

The residents of Magodo Government Reserved Area are currently embroiled in a running battle with the Lagos State Government over the proposed review of the area.

Some of the residents, who spoke with The Punch, accused the state government of reviewing the master plan of the area and presenting it for their approval without their input.

Magodo is an upscale residential development, created by the Lagos State Government in the 1980s and comprising phases 1 and 2.

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The residents alleged that the state government planned to convert the entire area into mixed use to accommodate other forms of developments other than residential.

A resident who spoke on condition of anonymity said the process began in 2017 when the state government contracted a firm to review the master plan of the area.

He said analysis of land use and conflicting uses were done and sent to the residents association for review but the entire process suddenly stopped in 2018.

According to him, on March 22, 2019 the association got a letter informing residents that government officials of New Towns Development Authority, Lagos, were ready to make a presentation of the final draft.

The 1st Vice-President of Magodo Residents Association, Mr Bajo Osinubi, told our correspondent that in early March, the association wrote to the government to know what was happening with the review but got a response that there would be a stakeholders’ meeting on the final draft.

“This means everything done before had been put aside. So, the residents association refused by writing to the commissioner; he replied that the meeting was for approval and for rubber stamping,” he said.

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Osinubi said residents of Magodo Phase 1 refused to attend the stakeholders’ meeting while those of phase 2 attended but rejected the draft.

He alleged that by refusing to carry residents along, the state government planned to make a mess of the residential estate.

He said, “In my 12 years of living in the estate, I can count the number of things the government has done here; we do our things ourselves. We also fight commercialisation because we don’t want to be like Lekki, which is in a mess, with residents selling their properties and moving down to Magodo.

“In the final draft, they turned all our arterial roads into mixed development; with that, anything can happen. It simply means that next to your house, you can have a church, mosque, a club, a seven storey-building or a supermarket. But from the beginning, Magodo was created as a residential estate.”

Osinubi stated that over the last five years, the state government had been trying to link the estate with some virgin marshy lands, which were supposed to have wetland, adding that the review might be a fast way to achieve that.

When contacted by our correspondent, the General Manager, NTDA, Mr Wasiu Akewusola, said Magodo residents had already turned the area into mixed use with illegal conversion of residential buildings to schools and offices, hence the move by the government to review the developmental plan.

Akewusola said, “Planning is dynamic and Magodo is over 30 years old. We planned it as residential but even at that, there should be provision for other activities, not everywhere will be residential; there will be schools and others.

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“The residents themselves are turning the place into uses that suit them and the government cannot stand and watch, so it decided to review the developmental plan and appointed one of the residents as a consultant on the project.”

The GM said the review was just for law and order and to legalise conversion of residential buildings into other uses.

The residents have, however, written to the state government, asking for three months to deliberate on the proposal of a draft new plan for the 21 zones of the estate.

“We want to study the draft, bring in experts to tell us the environmental impact of the new plan before we decide on what to do. We are basically a residential estate and we want to remain so,” Osinubi said.

Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi

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